Three Pakistan players suspended over betting scam allegations have a “really arguable case to answer”, the anti-corruption chief of cricket’s world governing body said on Friday.
“The conclusion that we have come to is that there is a really arguable case to answer,” Ronnie Flanagan, chairman of the Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) of the International Cricket Council (ICC), told a press conference at Lord’s in London.
The ICC has charged Test captain Salman Butt, plus bowlers Mohammad Aamer and Mohammad Asif, with “various offences” under its anti-corruption code and has suspended them pending a decision on those charges.
Flanagan said the players had been charged under Article 2 of the code and the trio knew the specific charges against them, but declined to go into the details.
Article 2 relates to offences under the code, including corruption, betting and misuse of inside information.
The former Northern Ireland police chief said the charges all relate to the fourth and final Test between England and Pakistan at Lord’s, which finished with an England win on Sunday.
Calling it a complex investigation, he said that if the players were found guilty, they could face a life ban.
“We will go where the evidence takes us,” he said, adding that the ACSU was working very closely with the British police in their separate but parallel investigation.
ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat expressed his “extreme disappointment and sadness” at the situation, but repeated that “we will not tolerate any sort of corruption in the sport.”
“There is absolutely no truth to the suggestion that there is a conspiracy towards Pakistan cricket,” the South African added.
“There is a lot of sympathy for Pakistan and its players.”